Top FAA Officials Resign


Disruption in Washington continues as five top FAA officials have tendered their resignations, citing the unprecedented events that took place at the Capitol yesterday. These resignations came on the same day that DOT head Elaine Chao announced her early departure; she was due to be replaced by Pete Buttigieg after the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

“This evening the Secretary and the Administrator received resignation letters from all our non-career staff members here at FAA,” the FAA’s chief of staff Angela Stubblefield said in a statement. “These resignations will be effective Monday evening. Our colleagues’ decisions, given the gravity of yesterday’s events, are understandable. Like all of us, they are outraged by the brazen and violent attack on one of the sacred institutions of American democracy.”

The five FAA employees announcing their resignations were Bailey Edwards (assistant administrator for policy, international affairs and environment), Arjun Garg (acting deputy FAA administrator), Andrew Giacini (acting administrator for legislative affairs), Brianna Manzelli (assistant administrator for communications) and Kirk Shaffer (assistant administrator for airports). FAA Administrator Steve Dickson commented on the departures, praising the staff members for “their extraordinary leadership in this agency, their steadfast focus on safety and their tremendous support that they have given me.”

These “non-career” appointees would have been expected to leave after Jan. 20 in any event, but their early departure follows the lead of Chao and several other high-ranking officials leaving government before the current presidential term has ended.

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. In case it is not obvious, what we have here is typical “Swamp” positioning. These resignations are people who are being told, “Resign now, or you will never work in Washington DC again.” These are the people who don’t want to loose their entitlement to Federal appointments, teaching positions, and consulting gigs. It is beneath them to seek employment outside of the DC swamp.

  2. Jim P. nailed it. They are customarily expected to tender their resignations anyway after an election–and they may or may not be accepted. This is nothing more than “virtue signaling”. These career bureaucrats should NEVER be considered for another government position!

  3. I’m afraid you’re all mistaken. If you look up their résumés on the web, you’ll see immediately that all
    five of the officials who resigned are non-political appointees, with formidable expertise in aviation and
    impeccable credentials all-around. Some are retired military officers, others are partners in law firms,
    or have permanent academic posts. Ms. Stubblefield is a renowned security analyst, with international
    as well as domestic calling cards. None of them need a job in government, let alone a position as far
    from being a sinecure as running the FAA is, given the sabotage performed by Ronald Reagan and his
    corrupt successors, over the last four decades. In your eagerness to condemn those in power, you’re
    missing your own point, while hindering pilots, passengers and all the people you’re trying to protect.
    The Biden administration could do a lot worse than to rehire some if not all of the individuals who quit
    or resigned in protest, especially since Buttigieg has no prior experience in transportation management.
    There is no grandstanding going on, except by those who accuse without proof. We have seen far too
    much of that already. Leave the yahoos on the ground, lest they roam the skies and destroy the world.

    • Reading your comments and others like it is certainly is an insight into your support for the declared president-elect. Civility does not appear to be a strong suit and calls into question your role in aviation. Hopefully your anger will one day subside. Best of luck.

  4. “Declared” president-elect calls everything you say into question–and not just your civility, either.
    Apart from that, I have no stakes in electoral politics, and no respect for vaulting ambition. Thus,
    I hold no brief for Biden, or for any of his new cabinet members. And I am adamantly opposed to
    the cozy relationship between the FAA and the airline industry that they are supposed to regulate.
    But the five officials who resigned were professionals who did their best to set and maintain high
    standards, despite all the corruption and malfeasance that surrounded them. They weren’t party
    hacks, cronies, or beneficiaries of the “spoils system” that dates back to the age of Jackson, but
    found renewed vigor under the “quid pro quo” arrangements that have become commonplace in
    the last four years. They were not the enemy. Neither am I. Your lack of insight saddens me,
    but my anger is directed at those who merit it, not those who refuse to compromise or capitulate.
    Beware of blaming the messenger–and of substituting sheer condescension for rational criticism.

Comments are closed.